The Dodgers’ No. 3 Outfielder Isn’t Who You Think It Is

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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Surely he doesn’t play because he lacks Crawford’s “speed” and Ethier’s “Gold Glove” defense, though, right?

Well, it just so happens that Van Slyke is also the best defensive option of the three. In 2014, Van Slyke he a dWAR of 0.1 — marginally better than one could expect a replacement-level outfielder to perform.

Nothing special, sure, but did you know that both Crawford and Ethier posted negative dWAR scores in 2014? Ethier’s “Gold Glove” defense earned him -0.9 dWAR and Crawford’s “speed” earned him -0.4 dWAR. (And don’t even get me started on Guerrero’s defense)

Obviously none of these players are adding value the way Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson are, but Van Slyke is the only one actually providing positive value.

Well, surely Van Slyke’s numbers are better because he only platoons against favorable pitching match-ups, right? Think again.

In 2014, Van Slyke faced a right-handed pitcher 108 times and a left-handed pitcher 104 times, with a better split against lefties (.315/.415/.630), but a nonetheless respectable split against righties as well (.279/.353/.413).

Crawford’s splits against right-handers are about the same (.296/.330/.415), but his lefty-splits are noticeably worse (.321/.381/.500). Ethier was noticeably worse against both sides.

Obviously, I understand that Crawford and Ethier are owed over $120 million (through 2017 and 2018 respectively), and I suppose benching both of them in favor of a player making $500,000 (and under team control through 2019) is difficult, but don’t the Dodgers have to consider it at some point?

This isn’t an overreaction to 20 games in 2015, it’s simply an honest question asked in response to what the 2014 numbers are saying. Vn Slyke is better on offense, he’s better on defense and he’s probably the only one whose career is on the rise.

Yes, Guerrero has become the sexy pick, but remember that we’re comparing him to players who put up impressive numbers over the course of an entire season. Yes, Guerrero has potential — and he might even be the best hitter of the bunch — but when it comes to a combination of hitting and fielding (and facial-hair-growing), I’m driving the #StartVanSmash bandwagon.


Brandon McCarthy To Miss Remainder Of 2015 Season

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  1. Gotta love Scotty. He’s simply the best “ballplayer” of the three. I hope that the front office finds a way to keep he and Justin Turner “Dodgers” for a long time.

    1. In the absence of Puig, DM choses to play matchups, which is a normal thing to do. And remember this, that so called idiot has a lot more experience managing a team than you, who are nothing more than a fan with an opinion. I go with the guy who has 12 years experience as a player, and another 4 as a coach and 4 more as a manager who’s teams by the way have won more games in each year he has managed…….you ever done that? thought not…..

      1. You don’t have any coaching experience and I’d probably choose you over Donnie. Just cuz you’re a great player doesn’t mean you’re a good manager. His in game decisions are horrible! You say he’s done good cuz he’s winning more games each year, but he should be winning the most games with the highest payroll

        1. That is naïve to think that just because you have the highest payroll you should win the most games…..The Yankees had the highest for years, and when was the last time they won? He is only a small part of the big picture….He can put players in the game, but it is still up to the PLAYER to get the job done … You guys blame the manager way too much…..

          1. Michael I agree. DM only can play what he has and who the FO wants to play. I believe the FO demands that Grandal plays as they traded Kemp to the Pads for him. Grandal has been defensively terrible. The stats only show some of his liabilities just one example there were two pitches in the 9th inning with Hatcher last week that Hatcher was hit up for wild pitches but Grandal let bounce in front of the plate and get behind him! The runner advanced both times. We all know that a ball bouncing in front of the plate has to be blocked and kept in front of the catcher it is a basic skill. Grandal does not block bouncing pitches and keep them in front of him. Plus he is a bad team mate with runners on and less than 2 out he does not work to move the runner over. He is constantly striking out, popping up or the good one hitting into DP’s to kill the rally. Ellis is a great teamate and needs to play but the FO is not going to give up yet and look like fools. The Grandal trade will go down as one of the worst in Dodger history. Plus they blew 48 Million on McCarthy and Rollins is hitting .180 and has 4 errors. Kendrick is the only player they have gotten that has excelled. I will give them Liberatore but it is early yet.

        2. I doubt you would really want me running the team. But let the season play out. It is still early and all I have seen from the fans on here is panic. And it is way too early for that..Injuries have cut down on his options. The FO is making him play with a short bench. They only have 4 bench guys now, The starting staff is down to 2 good pitchers and a bunch of questions. None of that is on DM.

      2. I Dont Care Who You Would Go with. He is an idiot! Im not the only dodger fan who thinks so.

        1. Your opinion is yours, does not mean that you are right,,,,and management makes the decisions,.,,,,,,not the fans….

          1. Well im sure if Bochy was our manager we could beat the cardinals. He plays the worst hitting catcher in baseball just because he is Kershaw’s friend! Not to mention he doesn’t call a good game and can’t throw out any runners

          2. Where do you get your info? Ellis has thrown out more runners than the Grand mistake, has a better fielding average, blocks pitches in the dirt better and by FAR is a better game caller. BOTH catchers are hitting below the Mendoza line, so the choice is not all that hard. Ellis up until his injury last year was a career .250 hitter, with moderate power. Grandal has more power, but he strikes out more, and so far has not shown any of the things they supposedly traded for. You dislike DM. I get it, but check your stats before you rag on a player. By the way, Grandal’s first error cost the team a game. Was that DM’s fault? Get real, get a lot smarter about the game than you are…then someone might think you have a valid opinion…..

          3. Well that’s cool, but the stats do not back your position. Grandal has started 14 games as a C. He has a .993 fielding pct. 1 error. 2 passed balls, 10 steals against him with only 3 caught stealing. He is hitting .196 with 1 HR and 2 RBI’s. He has walked 9 times and struck out 12……He has never in his career hit above .225 except his rookie year. And the 15 HR’s he hit last year were a career high and the only time he has hit double figures. Ellis has a fielding pct of 1.000 no errors or passed balls, 4 caught stealing and only 2 steals against in 6 games. AJ as every one knows is off to a bad start at the plate hitting .150 He has 2 BB and has struck out 6 times. They both have the same career BA at .241…difference is Ellis hit over .270 3 years in a row until he had a down 2013. He also has hit double digit homers twice….Grandal, a switch hitter is much worse from the right side. And that is why he got the night off against Bumgarner………

          4. I’m trying to figure out why we are hating on Donnie…he’s a winning coach.
            You seriously think boche would have beat the cardinals? LMAO, how would he have done that? Would he have magically had a bullpen that didn’t choke?

  2. Totally agree with you here don’t know what Donnies thinking the numbers are right in your face. Last year probably would have hit close to 40 dongs and probably higher the average with more at bats

  3. SVS would start on any other team! Can’t blame DM for not starting him it’s the front office paying high money for others not producing but he has to play them. But he should get his chance while CC is out..

  4. My LazyBoy-Gen Mgr lineup: Pederson CF, Turner SS, 2B Adrian 1B Van Slick LF Kendrick 2B Eithier RF Guerrero 3B Grandal C Pitcher

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